Family dentistry practices may soon have a new weapon of defense against cavities. In current dental procedures, cavities are cleaned out and filled in order to restore the strength and usefulness of a tooth. But if research on prevention continues to develop, cavities could become a thing of the past, a reality that would thrill our staff at Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ.
Cavities, also called dental caries, occur when harmful bacteria in your mouth form plaque. Plaque then attacks your teeth. In time, plaque can create an opening in the hard enamel portion of a tooth. The layers under your enamel then become vulnerable to bacteria and acid in the mouth, and the result can be tooth decay or dental caries.
Family Dentistry Practices and Scientific Studies
But scientific researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have created a small molecule that just may become a slick, new dental defense: making teeth too slippery for bacteria to do its damage. When applied to rats in preclinical models, the new molecule greatly inhibited Streptococcus mutans, the main bacterium that causes cavities. In the study, rats were fed a cavity-prone diet. But in the presence of the new molecule, the Streptococcus mutans bacteria were unable to make the protective and sticky biofilm that allows them to glue to the tooth surface. The result was that the bacteria couldn’t attach to teeth in order to eat away at tooth enamel.
Studies indicate that worldwide, there are about 4 billion people who have untreated cavities. Brushing teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash are nonselective methods for washing away oral bacteria. But the molecule being studied selectively targets bad bacteria’s ability to form biofilms.
Continue Practicing Good Oral Care
Family Dentistry methods have come a long way. The molecule inhibitor is still in the research stage, and its release into public usage could be a few years in the future. But even when it becomes available, practicing good oral care at home on a daily basis will still be a valuable defense for keeping your teeth and gums healthy. That includes eating nutritious foods, brushing your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled brush, flossing daily, and using a quality mouthwash with fluoride. Last but not least, come and see our staff at Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, AZ, two times each year for your biannual cleaning and checkup. Taking care of your smile is an important and vital part of taking care of you!